inside one family's struggle. plus, tracks of my tears. it's no secret that her tears tend to make him squirm. but a new study claims that a chemical in tears may actually short circuit the male libido. if true, it sure explains a lot. and, life after roseanne. she had the number one show on tv before her career came to a screeching halt. she is our "nightline" interview. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," january 6th, 2011. >> good evening. we begin tonight with children's health, and a startling reality. tens of thousands of preschoolers this this country are on anti-psychotic medications. a number that's doubled in the last decade. the trend raises many questions,
especially since most have not been tested on children and doctors are little idea what their effect may be on the developing brain. tonight, we meet a family faced with a profoundly difficult choice. for this little boy, what you're seeing is not just a mow men tear tantrum, but the stuff of every day life. day in and day out, cole evavold's parents, jennifer and chris, have had to cope with his thrashing, banging and screaming. it's certainly not what they thought life would be like when they adopted him as a newborn seven years ago. >> i guess he really with us fussy. he cried and needed to be held a lot and he never slept. i thought it was just him being a baby. >> reporter: by two months, there were problems at day care. >> the woman says, he's high
mant nenls. and i thought, he's an infant. he's young. what is high mant nenls mean when it's a baby? >> reporter: in part, it meant by the time he was 2, cole was on day care number four. >> he broke a picture on the wall, pulled her curtains down and turned the whole room upside down. he had an all-out rage. >> reporter: this home video shows cole in one of those rages. his room stripped down to keep him from hurting himself. it's a cell, essentially. >> yeah. >> reporter: jennifer and chris weren't just worried about cole hurting himself, they were terrified he would hurt another child. >> when he was hitting our friends' children, i started to worry -- i night that might almost be worse, to have him injure another child or kill, by accident. >> reporter: or not be accident. he's angry. >> he is. and that care scares me more t
anything. >> reporter: his most frequent target, his little sister brynn. his parents say he tried to kill her with a metal shovel. >> i heard the hit. he hit her over the head with a shovel. and i walk over, what are you doing? i'm trying to kill her. >> you're a dead butt. i'll kill you so hard. >> reporter: but why? what was going on with cole? there were so clues. cole's birth father had bipolar disorder and the couple was warned that cole could inherit the disease. >> when we adopted him, we thought, give him a loving family, a good upbringing, could be maybe help that out a little bit. >> reporter: but no amount of love seemed to be helping cole. by the time he was 3 1/2, the family was in turmoil. >> hi, cole. >> reporter: cole's pediatrician says cole's behavior was getting worse. in the range of kids you've seen with the kinds of issues cole
has, where he is on the spectrum, zero is a kid that's just a regular kid and ten is the worst kid you've ever seen -- >> he's up there. he's a nine. >> reporter: the doctor began by diagnosing him with adhd and a mood disorder. but there was more. >> cole, i think, because of his family history, and because he really cycles, will probably end up as an adult with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. >> reporter: and the doctor had a treatment in mind. an extremely controversial treatment. when cole was only 3 1/2 years old, the doctor prescribed a potent mix of psychiatric drugs for him, including adderall to treat his adhd. >> obviously i said heck no. i'm not giving him medicine. >> i was scared, too, because every medicine we would give him, there is always a death warning on what could happen. it's scary. but you know, we really didn't have the luxury of time. we have another child in the
house. even our friends' children, he took a mallet to one of our friends' kids heads. >> reporter: there was a big decision for she and her husband to put a 3 1/2-year-old boy on medication. >> that's right. >> reporter: big decision for you, too, to recommend it? >> huge decision, yeah. back in the old days, a kid like this would probably end up in an institution. >> reporter: his condition is that acute? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: but the melds didn't work. the rages continued. when cole was 6 1/2, the doctor took what many consider a radical next step. prescribing lithium for cole. the powerful anti- sipsychotic d for adults with bipolar disease. >> behold. he gets better with lithium. he really, if he has the rages now, they're much more subdued.
>> reporter: that is awesome! nevertheless, the use of such drugs in very young children is highly controversial. sigh sky tris mark of ofson has studied the rate at which ant anti-psychotics are being described for kids a rate that's doubled for preschoolers in the last decade. give me a sense of how many children and adolescents are taking these anti-psychotic drugs. >> i've seen estimates as low as half a million in the course of a year, but there are other that suggest several million children. that's part of the concern here. that most of the time, the medications are being described to children, but being prescribed for things that we haven't studied them. >> reporter: have most of the medications been tested in children? >> only a couple, but only in very small samples. >> reporter: for the evavolds, they say it's worst the risk. >> consider the alternative. what's going to happen?
he's going to fail in school, he's going to fail in all kinds of human interactions. he's going to have a pretty miserable life. >> it's time for medicine. let's go. >> reporter: but was it really the drugs that cole needed? folks who are watching this who have kids, say, give me that kid for a week, i'd straighten him out, you'd say -- >> okay. give it a try. if you haven't walked in her shoes, you tonight know. nobody is going to make cole normal. that's just not going to happen. >> reporter: even with all the medications, cole, now age 7, can still be highly irritable and aggressive, especially in the morning. on this morning, cole gets the idea to attack a still sleeping brynn. jennifer is not fast enough to stop him. so, what about 5-year-old brynn? what of her childhood?
do you feel afraid of him? >> yeah, kinda in the morning and the afternoon. >> reporter: you do? >> yeah, because he -- because i think he'll hit and stuff. >> reporter: yeah. so, you just try to avoid him? >> i just try to stay away and not ask him questions and stuff. >> reporter: so, people who are watching you right now and say, how could you put your 3 1/2-year-old, your 4 1/2-year-old, your 5 1/2, now -- >> 7. >> reporter: 7. on these drugs. you say? >> for the first year, i couldn't tolerate it. when you give a 4-year-old kid medicine, and you see the affects of it, it's haunting. i mean, when he eats his dinner and his eyes are rolled in his head. >> reporter: how are you feeling? good? two thumbs up? two thumbs up. >> taste good?
>> reporter: there you go. by dinner time, cole's evening dose is beginning to work, and he can barely keep his eyes open. some of the side effects, even for a child who may need the medicine, are obvious. this is a hard question to ask you, but if you had known then what you know now, would you have gone through with the adoption? >> 100%, no question. >> reporter: no question. even with all the heart ache? >> he's the sweetest kid in the world. >> he is. >> reporter: i wouldn't trade him for the world. >> it's like a mask. bipolar puts the mask on. but when it comes off, he's just a sweet, loving little guy. >> reporter: sone that you want to strangle occasionally. >> daily. >> reporter: you love this little boy. >> yeah. >> lots of love and lots of hard choices. our thanks to evavold family for
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translation? more tears, less sex. here's dan harris. >> i don't think i can take this. i don't think i can take this. >> reporter: it is undoubtedly true that many men do not enjoy watching emotional, cynics might even say, sappy movies, that involve women crying. movies like "steel magnolias." or "when harry met sally." >> hi. >> are you all right? >> reporter: it is also undoubtedly true that some men get annoyed when their wives or girlfriends cry. not this reporter, of course. when my beautiful wife, that's her right there, when she cries, which is very, very rare, i am very, very sympathetic. nothing like that mean tom hanks who played a women's baseball coach in "a league of their own." >> there's no crying in baseball! >> reporter: this male aversion to female crying, it now turns out there may be a scientific basis to it. a new study done in israel found
that men who were exposed to women's tears, tears that were extracted by having women watch sad movies, these men were measurably turned off. they had lower testosterone levels and the parts of their brain that register sexual arousal were less active. to test this theory, we took this actress named jessica to a local gym here in new york city and asked her to cry on command. >> she's not actually upset at you. >> that's good. >> reporter: this guy admitted he did not like it very much. >> might be slightly annoyed. >> reporter: but this guy said there are some circumstances in which crying could actually work in a woman's favor. >> she's crying and start kissing me, that's different. i might get turned on. >> reporter: scientists we spoke to today about this new study were fascinated, especially by the notion that our tears could be sending out chemical signals that influence the physiology and behavior of other people.
but from an evolutionary standpoint, if you hair con back to the cavemen days, some scientists aren't so sure that this whole idea of men losing testosterone when women cry really adds up. >> if you think back to cavemen, if you had a family with children and suddenly a wild beast comes in and attacks one of the children, tries to drag it off and the mother starts to cry, i don't think you would want the testosterone level of the father to be going down. you want him to be more aggressive, not less aggressive. >> reporter: we also took this new study to the legendary sex therapist dr. ruth. >> now, first of all, dan, when you talk to me about testosterone level and anything that has to do with sex, you have to smile a little bit. don't be so serious. >> reporter: okay. >> i would tell women, you want him to put your arm around you, cry a little. make yourself cry a little. even if it lowers the
testosterone for right now, if he does put his arms around her, maybe in an hour, the testosterone level is going to go up again. >> reporter: whether you believe that or not, this study definitely believes us with a whole host of open questions. for example, what does science say about women's reaction to men crying? >> that these kids have a shot at the american dream like i did. >> reporter: consider john boehner, the famously weepy new speaker of the house. barbara walters, who has seen her share of tears over the years, speaking on "the view" recently was decidedly not aroused. >> he has an emotional problem. >> reporter: even though men now have some science to back up our seemingly callus disregard for women's tears, it will not get us off the hook. for "nightline," this is dan harris in new york. >> oh, and bianca is a lucky woman, dan. that explains a lot.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with cynthia mcfadden. >> she was brash and raunchy and could be very, very funny. her sense offer reverence powered her to the number one show on television. but roseanne barr went too far when she grabbed her crotch after an offkey stadium rendition of the national anthem back in 1990. and the audience walked away.
what has she been up to since? here's david wright with the "nightline" interview. >> reporter: they say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. >> i was not prepared for, like, the crazy crash of celebrity. >> reporter: roseanne barr may be living proof. >> i'm one of these people that, i have, i call them my fans, people who love to hate me. >> reporter: for nine seasons, her sitcom dominated primetime. it was the number one show on television. a single episode reached 36 million viewers. >> it was a mind blower, from beginning to end, and i just hung on by the tips of my finger nafls. >> reporter: around that kitchen table, the conner family rapled with real issues. at a time when the rest of america only whispered about such things, roseanne dealt with birth control. >> you mean, about the bill? >> reporter: domestic violence. >> fisher beat the crap out of
her. >> i don't want anybody to know about it. >> reporter: masturbation. >> this is something that everybody does. >> okay. >> okay. >> do you do it? >> i do. >> reporter: gay marriage and same sex kisses. you name it, roseanne openly tackled the most divisive social issues. >> we're stoned. >> reporter: then, and now. it matters to be funny about it. >> we didn't have an agenda to shove it down anyone's throat. >> reporter: roseanne came from humble beginnings. she grew up in a mormon neighborhood, feeling very much the outsider. >> i was like the only dark, fat jewish girl in salt lake city. >> reporter: her weight was a constant struggle. but she made it. she became a cultural icon. >> becoming a symbol of something is hard. ♪ o say can you see >> reporter: and for roseanne, it all started to unravel the
night she sang the star spangled banner. you want to sing? >> no, i would rather not. i just laugh at it. >> reporter: and when it was over, she grabbed her crotch, spat on the ground and walked off. >> it was horrifying. i knew i started too high about the fifth note in and i thought, well, at least i'll try to make it funny. >> reporter: you're smiling through the whole thing. >> i felt like crying. >> disgraceful. that's the way i feel about it. >> reporter: i was like, i'm going to lose every single thing that i've ever worked for. >> reporter: as it turned out, roseanne survived it just fine, but the show was never number one again. if the show were on today -- >> yeah. >> reporter: tackling all of the current issues as it did in its day, what would you want to tackle? >> i understand that whole tea party thing. i understand a revolt by
american taxpayers, but the solution isn't at the expense of the american taxpayer. >> reporter: very intrigued to read about your thoughts on sarah palin. she minds a lot of the same things that you were successful with. brass tax, sharp tongued, blue collar feminist thing. >> well, she says all that crap but i feel she's ripping off my act and not telling the truth to the american people. >> reporter: last mother's day, across from the white house, barr declared her condition candidacy for u.s. president and the prime minister of israel. >> grand new green tea party ticket. >> reporter: tourists and the bureaucrats took little notice of her political theater. these days, she spends most of her time on the 46-acre macadamia nut farm she owns in the mountains of hawaii. >> that's the nut. >> reporter: the idea that you have retired to a nut farm in hawaii -- sounds like a punch line. >> it kind of does. i mean, it's quite different from being in a sitcom in los
angeles. here. >> reporter: which doesn't mean she's done with show business. but she's doing it on her own terms. there's talk of a reali show. set in roseanne's hawaii. and, there's a new memoir, in which she describes her turbulent years at the top as a deal with the devil. do you feel like you've sold your soul to become famous and you paid a price for it? >> yeah. that's the deal that all celebrities make. they decide, well, these are safe topics that i can speak out on. >> reporter: there's a photo spread on you that pushes the edge a little bit, maybe -- >> which one is that? >> reporter: the hitler mustache, baking cookies in the shape of jews? >> people said it was in the shape of jews but it was not jews. it was palestinians. >> reporter: at age 58, she knows who she is. she's delighted to be a grandma, and for someone who struggled so
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